To stop spiraling health insurance rates, we urge state officials to review rate increases for reasonableness, disclose an insurer’s rate calculations, and give consumers a voice in the review process. Policyholders have saved millions in states with a strong rate review process. Use this information to push for a better rate review process in your own state.
Consumers Union Documents
- CU Comment on HHS Rate Increase Disclosure and Review
How do we define an unreasonable health insurance rate increase? These formal comments to the US Department of Health and Human Services suggest standards to guide states and the federal government.
- The Affordable Care Act: The First Year
Discover What the New Law Means for You and Your Family
- How Much Is Too Much: Have Nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans Amassed Excessive Amounts of Surplus?
Have nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield plans amassed excessive amounts of surplus?
- Steps need to be taken to rein in unreasonable increases of premiums
CU recommends review of all premium rate increases and full public disclosure within the Public Health Service Act.
- Consumers Union Urges New Mexico Lawmakers to Support Stronger State Review of Health Insurance Rate Hikes
New Mexico consumers are vulnerable to soaring health insurance premium hikes because state law simply fails to protect them
- New rules proposed on health insurance rate hikes
Proposed rules trigger important disclosure requirements for insurers but states can do more to protect consumers
- Nonprofit BCBS Health Plans amass billions in surplus
Health insurers set aside billions of dollars in surplus – essentially retained profits – even as they raised premiums for consumers.
- States lack power to stop health insurance hikes
Anthem premium increase in California highlights how many states don’t have authority to protect consumers
- Are 40 states truly “effective” at protecting consumers from excessive rate hikes?
When it comes to protecting consumers from unfair health insurance rate hikes, the ball is – for the most part – still in the hands of state regulators. Let’s see if they will take it to the hoop. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that 40 states have an “effective” Continue Reading
- State regulators’ vote puts a key consumer protection at risk
In a huge disappointment for consumers, a task force of state insurance regulators voted today to support a Congressional bill that would gut a key consumer protection of the Affordable Care Act, known as the medical loss ratio rule. As we’ve explained before, the medical loss ratio rule requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of their premium Continue Reading
- Why Connecticut and every state needs stronger checks on premium hikes
Now that the Connecticut legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill to crack down on spiraling health insurance rates, all eyes are on the governor to see if he will side with consumers and sign the bill or side with the insurance companies and veto it. The Connecticut bill gives the state’s insurance commissioner stronger authority to Continue Reading
- Say what? A health insurer is lowering premiums? Yes, thanks to an ACA rule that some lawmakers now want to gut
When is the last time you heard about a health insurance company lowering instead of raising premiums for its customers? Chances are never, but now – thanks to the Affordable Care Act – 15,000 Aetna customers in Connecticut will see their health insurance premiums drop by up to 19.5 percent later this year. Aetna wants Continue Reading
- Making a difference: Your emails are having an impact on health insurance rates
Thousands of you sent emails last week to your state Insurance Commissioners opposing a new scheme that likely would mean higher premium costs for consumers. And your messages helped derail that effort for now! The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) was meeting in Austin, Tex., last weekend to consider changing a part of the Continue Reading
- Lessons from the Fight Against Blue Shield Rate Hikes
Consumers won another victory in the fight to curb rising insurance premiums when Blue Shield of California withdrew its effort to raise rates yet again. Here are some key lessons we can draw from Blue Shield’s decision. First – public pressure goes a long way in holding insurance companies accountable to their customers’ needs. On a recent Continue Reading
- Steep California Rate Hikes Put on Hold
California’s new insurance commissioner succeeded in pressuring Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna and PacifiCare to delay rate hikes for 60 days beyond their effective dates, giving him more time to closely review the filings.
- California, Meet Connecticut
Connecticut chalked one up for consumers recently when it refused to allow Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield to raise health insurance rates by 20%. California needs to take a page from Connecticut’s playbook and hold a hearing on Blue Shield’s latest rate hike – its third in six months.
- A holiday tradition we could do without
Thanksgiving meals, Christmas parties and trick-or-treating aren’t the only traditions Americans share each holiday season. Small businesses, families, and entrepreneurs also huddle around kitchen tables, carefully bracing themselves, as they attempt to absorb health insurance rate increases that have become an annual nightmare.
- Come on, states – Let’s see some real checks on insurers’ rate hikes
States – not the federal government – are primarily responsible for regulating health insurers. The trouble is that many states don’t have laws on the books that are strong enough to protect consumers from unfair premium rate hikes.
- Trade group, other ‘association’ health plans to face rate hike scrutiny Source: Kaiser Health News (Friday September 2, 2011)
Insurers who offer “association health plans,” which are often sold through trade groups or other organizations of affiliated members, will face the same scrutiny of premium rate hikes as other types of insurance, federal officials said Thursday.
- Double digit insurance hikes to face review Source: Modern Healthcare (Thursday September 1, 2011)
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, consumers no longer have to navigate the health insurance market blindly and on their own,” Steve Larsen, director of the CMS’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said in a news release. “The next time your insurance company tries to raise your premium by double digits, it will have Continue Reading
- Federal workers swallowed big hike in insurance premiums Source: The Washington Post (Thursday August 11, 2011)
Almost half of federal workers enrolled in the long-term care insurance program offered by the government swallowed a 25 percent hike in premiums that blindsidedthem two years ago, a new audit says.
- Health insurers' rate hikes to face new state reviews Source: The Washington Times (Tuesday August 2, 2011)
The measure is one of two major prongs in the Affordable Care Act that aim to lower premium costs for consumers by regulating insurance companies. Insurers must publicly disclose their proposed rate increase, which will be reviewed by a state board. If the increase is deemed unreasonable, the insurer must justify the increase on the company’s own website and on the ACA website.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield: Does it Act Nonprofit? Source: The Nonprofit Quarterly (Wednesday March 2, 2011)
In a filing to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance yesterday, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts revealed it has committed to paying $11.3 million in severance to Cleve L. Killingsworth, an executive they parted company with last year after the organization began to run “staggering losses”. Nice work if you can get it.
- Consumers tell state panel: reject Wellmark Blue Cross, Blue Shield increase Source: Globe Gazette (Thursday January 6, 2011)
Consumers from around the state urged Iowa insurance officials Thursday to reject a proposed 10.8 percent rate increase by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
- California Can’t Block Staggering Health Insurance Rate Hikes Source: ABC News (Wednesday January 6, 2010)
Tens of thousands health insurance policyholders in California begin the new year bracing for rate hikes of up to 59 percent in the coming months — and they are not the only insurance company hiking rates.
- Blue Cross Has “Excessive” Surplus Consumer Group Says Source: Raleigh News & Observer (Thursday July 22, 2010)
Lawmakers should consider using surplus to help control surging rates, a national consumer advocacy group claims.
- Blue Cross Piles Up Reserves Source: UPI (Thursday July 22, 2010)
BCBS health insurers set aside billions as they raised premiums for consumers by as much as 20 percent annually in the past decade, a report by Consumers Union released today found.
- Why we need health reform - Anthem's 25% rate hike Source: New York Times (Thursday February 18, 2010)
Reform bill would put brakes on out-of-scale premium increases